There are more questions than answers in the wake of the shutdown of football. When will it return? What happens if it doesn’t return soon? What happens if it doesn’t return before many players’ contracts are up in June? That rhymes. Deal with it. Who officially wins, qualifies, gets promoted or relegated?
A whole lot of conversations are taking place in the halls of the Lords of Football in an effort to make sense of the logistics and scheduling nightmare that COVID-19 has caused.
The April 4th predicted return date is nothing more than a convenience. FA chairman Greg Clarke said it wasn’t “feasible” to return that soon. It’s three weeks away, on the other side of pre-planned international break. The coronavirus isn’t likely to be all taken care of by then.
“You tell me whether you think there’s the remotest possibility that anything in the science is going to tell us that it’s going to be safer to play on April 3 than now,” said another senior member of important things. So what happens next?
One plan that’s been put forth renders the current season closed out and Liverpool named 2019/20 Premier League champions. The Telegraph reported on Friday evening that at least unknown club executive made clear that he personally was unopposed to Jürgen Klopp’s team being given the trophy in light of circumstances and that there was “little opposition” to it amongst his fellow honchos in the room. The Reds’ 25-point gap over Manchester City, then, does seem fairly definitive.
Decisions will need to be made soon as there are plenty of moving parts that canceling the football season—if it in fact comes to that—would involve. The contracts situation, for one, is an unknown. But there’s an idea being floated to at least deal with promotion and relegation that’s sounds like a realistic plan.
Leeds and West Bromwich Albion would be promoted from the Championship and there would be no teams dropping out of the Premier League. Next season would incorporate a 22-team campaign with five clubs facing relegation in 20/21.
Champions League and Europa League qualification are still being discussed and, if the season can’t be played out in some way, there’s sure to be some hurt feelings in the end. We’re into unprecedented territory now.